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Price Discrimination and Social Welfare with Demand Uncertainty


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  • Mahmudul Anam

    (York University, Canada)

  • Shin-Hwan Chiangy

    (York University, Canada)

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    Price, output and welfare erects of third-degree price discrimination is analyzed in the context of a risk-averse monopolist, who commits to xed prices before the revelation of random and potentially correlated demands. Assuming the disturbance term to be additive, white noise and the monopolist to have a quadratic (mean-variance) utility function, we show that price discrimination may occur with identical expected demands, the relatively risky but price insensitive market may be charged the lower price and despite linear demands, aggregate expected output may fall while social welfare rises. All of these results, which run counter to those in the deterministic model, are shown to be driven by the asymmetry in the revenue and risk characteristics of the markets and the willingness of the monopolist to trade increased level for reduced risk of expected prot in a manner similar to portfolio choice with risky and correlated assets. Key Words: Monopoly (D42), Monopolization Strategies (L12), Decision Making under Risk and Uncertainty (D81)

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by York University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1999_04.

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    Length: 17 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 1999
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    Handle: RePEc:yca:wpaper:1999_04

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    1. Varian, Hal R., 1989. "Price discrimination," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 597-654 Elsevier.
    2. Schmalensee, Richard., 1980. "Output and welfare implications of monopolistic third-degree price discrimination," Working papers 1095-80., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    3. Holahan, William L, 1975. "The Welfare Effects of Spatial Price Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 498-503, June.
    4. Varian, Hal R, 1985. "Price Discrimination and Social Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 870-75, September.
    5. Layson, Stephen K, 1998. "Third-Degree Price Discrimination with Interdependent Demands," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 511-24, December.
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